This will end well, surely. Credit: Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA
It’s camping time with your favorite sister duo, Sarah and Helena. Helena is, of course, eating something disgusting. Where did they get that fancy enormous tent? Also, I kind of wish we could have seen the two of them putting it up.
They are having a nice awkward conversation about how Sarah would ditch Helena in a heartbeat if Helena revealed where Ethan Duncan is too soon, followed by a discussion of whether or not Helena can have children, too. What, she’s very good with children.
But Sarah does try to get Helena to open up about what happened at the farm, and it might even be because she cares, not just because she wants to know what the Prolethians are up to. They even go to sleep in classic yin yang position, in mirror fetal positions. Too bad Paul is outside, rifling through the glove compartment of the car.
Helena is enjoying the freedom of the open road with Sarah, which involves a mildly incoherent singalong to “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, because even if you grew up in Ukraine in the ‘90s, you had the “Now and Then” soundtrack. “Orphan Black,” you are killing me with the adorable Helena stuff. Tatiana Maslany must be hoping for the opportunity to sing like a normal person someday on this show.
Cosima is having trouble being optimistic about her treatment because she knows Sarah is now worried about getting sick as well. Her sexy science talk with Delphine is interrupted by a phone call, which turns out to be her nerdy assistant, Scott, who has just showed up at the Dyad for a job. Delphine has clearly gone over her head about this, and Cosima wants to send him back, but he volunteers the info that he already knows about the clones. Guess he’s sticking around.
Group therapy with Alison Hendrix
You know who is the worst possible candidate for group therapy? It’s Alison Hendrix! She doesn’t want to share, and the situation is exacerbated when Vic shows up. Remember Vic the dick? Alison sure remembers macing him.
Felix, meanwhile, is drunk painting his troubles away when Art goes to check up on him. New dream team? They are going to work to piece together the evidence left behind in the storage compartment Helena led them to last episode.
Vic tries to get Alison to explain who she is, but doesn’t believe her when she flatly tells him they’re clones.
Sarah and Helena find the church from the picture of Ethan Duncan, but Sarah goes in to research alone, because Helena is still learning to act like a normal human. She finds a creepy church lady inside, and improvises that she’s Duncan’s student and needs to see what he was researching for her thesis. Turns out, the “Cold River” Helena referenced is an old institute and this church houses its archives.
Helena stays in the car for about 30 seconds and then bails to go check out a bar. Freedom is a heady brew. She then proceeds to order what appears to be every drink on the menu and is interrupted by a classic Gross Bar Dude, who does not accept her lack of interest in him. She kindly sprains his finger, but before he can cause more trouble, a handsome young dude in a hat comes to her rescue. You might recognize him as Patrick Adams from “Suits.” They share a White Russian and some pork rinds. This flirtation method will obviously be successful, because Helena always responds to food.
Sarah, meanwhile, learns that Duncan was interested in the early days of the Institute, from 1910-1920.
Alison is having a less than friendly meeting at the rehab center with Donnie, who has refused to bring the kids to see her. She suggests cutting off his dangly balls if he doesn’t come with the kids, but Vic checks in with them before she can follow through. He even assures Donnie that Alison is working hard in rehab.
Sarah Manning School of Creepy Horror Movie Tropes
Sarah is learning that Cold River was apparently an institute for research on babies? Sort of a hodgepodge of weird pictures in the archives, including a nurse wearing a gas mask while dealing with a baby. Sarah’s part of the show is turning into a movie that would come out only in October.
Alison finds Vic meditating in a gym in the rehab center and decides to mess with him by noisily dribbling a basketball and saying she knows he was abusive to Sarah. He’s not interested in hanging out until she admits that she’s a bottle hider. Alison is also weirdly judgmental about his basketball skills, though, to be fair, he manages to rebound the ball onto his own head. Did we know Alison likes basketball?
Back on the world’s most ill-fated first date, Helena is trying out a series of identities, all of which correspond to the clones. They drop the convo for a drinking game/arm wrestling contest, which is observed from afar by both Paul and Mark the Prolethian, who has followed Helena to the bar. They have a bit of a pissing contest over the sisters.
Sarah conferences in with Cosima, who ventures to suggest that Cold River is the perfect ideological breeding ground for the people who would go on to create Project Leda. Sarah even manages to express to Cosima some concern about her health, and her hope of reuniting clone club. Sarah is really expanding her little family unit all over the place in this episode. Also, not to look at this cynically, but she’s very good at charming people into continuing to help her. All the clones are, really. They seem to be unusually compelling to the people around them, even beyond the ones who are interested in them for scientific or religious reasons. Sarah then discovers that Ethan Duncan was one of the researchers at Cold River.
Suits, as we’re going to call Helena’s date, interrupts their arm wrestling contest to dance with her. It’s probably the most normal thing that’s happened in her entire life. Of course, while it’s going on, Paul and Mark are coldly negotiating that they will each take one clone and be on their way without a fight, and then Paul leaves. Helena and Suits even make out on the dance floor for a bit, which is interrupted when the Gross Bar Guy from earlier grabs Suits and shoves him away. Bad idea, Gross Bar Guy. Helena proceeds to beat the crap out of him. Suits seems alarmed by her fightin’ skills, but sticks around. Sarah comes out of the church just in time to see Helena get dragged off by the police.
A very nice police officer tells Helena that Gross Bar Guy is not pressing charges, and that her sister is here to pick her up. We all get our hopes up for just a second, but of course Sarah wouldn’t risk going into a police station. Instead, it’s Grace. Has she been traveling with Mark all this time? Helena bluntly points out that Grace tried to kill her (but that’s pretty much par for the course for her sisters) and astutely observes that Gracie was sewed silent, which apparently has also happened to Helena.
Gracie talks Helena into joining the Prolethians again by promising to implant the embryos the pastor has fertilized, and all Helena wants is a family anyway, so she goes along.
Sarah at least talks Art into trying to get Helena out of the police station, but she’s already on the road to the next spot. She thinks Maggie Chen stole some files about Cold River, which Felix verifies by finding the birth and death information for the name Duncan has been living under in the files they’re going through.
You don't get to join Clone Club yet, Scott
Scott, in his efforts to prove himself worthy of the Cosima/Delphine team, has done some research and figured out that the stem cells they’re using to help Cosima must come from a relative, but not a clone. Maybe a daughter? There’s only one daughter that we know of. It seems like Delphine wasn’t aware of this, but she makes Scott promise not to tell Cosima all the same. Delphine! After we made such progress last week in trusting you.
For mysterious reasons, Alison is pursuing a friendship with Vic. She asks him to help her make place settings for family day. He agrees to help, and then slips outside for a cigarette. Or rather, to go meet with Angie, who is dangling the prospect of dropped drug charges in front of him in return for help figuring out what’s going on with Alison. That’s a better plan than her last one. Vic is better at being undercover than she is.
Art finds an address for Duncan’s assumed name, and Sarah of course goes on her own to investigate. But guess who answers the door when she knocks! Good old Mrs. S, holding a gun. She’s been part of some secret group that’s been working against the Dyad for years. They talked Duncan, now called Peckham, into switching sides. And she knew what Sarah was all along.
Mrs. S, surprisingly, brings Sarah to Ethan Duncan, who seems more than a little spacey. He’s confused that she’s not Rachel. Sarah wants straight answers about why they were created. He says he and Susan were recruited by the military (and that he doesn’t know how many clones there are, because there were other implantation teams), but that Susan was the true brains of the operation. The government shut them down once they’d succeeded, but then Dyad swooped in to pick up the pieces.
Duncan wants to see Rachel, but that is a low priority topic for Sarah. He doesn’t think Rachel can be that bad. He has not seen her bob yet.
Mrs. S uses this time to go have a quick chat with Paul, who has tracked Sarah there. She observes, rightly, that he’s currently caught between Leekie and Rachel, and suggests that they might be able to help each other out.
Sarah tries to explain how awful Rachel is, and Duncan says that Dyad isn’t what made her that way. It’s the Neolutionists inside Dyad. Namely, Leekie. (And Delphine, right? Probably Delphine is an evil Neolutionist. Just do whatever bad thing Delphine is going to do already, “Orphan Black.”)
Duncan is very hesitant to get involved again, but Sarah passionately tells him that his experiments are getting sick, and that potentially Rachel could be next. He says Leekie took Rachel away because he and Susan threatened to expose everything. He’s been hiding from Leekie all these years, because, according to him, Leekie killed Susan.
If you think the recap continues past this point, you’re out of luck. That’s all we learn. But that’s a pretty hefty bargaining chip he just handed Sarah for dealing with Rachel.
Grade: A-. So much new information! To catch up on last week's "Orphan Black" recap, click here. Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld